Blue Jays swept for first time this season as lack of clutch hitting remains an issue

Get the latest from Frank Zicarelli straight to your inbox

Article content

Since his career-first complete game shutout in Oakland earlier this month, Kevin Gausman hasn’t been able to make it out of the sixth inning in his past two starts.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Following his previous outing against Cleveland, Gausman stated the obvious by telling reporters that the team’s pitching is under the gun knowing the Jays’ offence has been scuffling.

Not much changed Wednesday night in the series finale against the Boston Red Sox, a 7-3 setback.

By the time Gausman’s night was officially in the books, he had given up five runs, including four earned.

But by no means was the ace right-hander the issue on this night as the Red Sox won all three contests at the Rogers Centre, the first time this season the Blue Jays had been swept.

Boston continues to create separation in the standings from the Blue Jays, who dropped to four games under .500, but the season-long story of lack of run production shows no sign of changing. While the teams each produced 10 hits, the Jays were a woeful 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The Red Sox also helped their cause with the game’s only two homers — giving them seven for the series.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Typical of the Jays’ offensive plight was the fourth inning. Trailing 2-0, Addison Barger, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kevin Kiermaier — the bottom third of the batting order — hit consecutive singles to start the frame and cut the deficit to one. Leadoff man Spencer Horwitz walked to load the bases with none out but Justin Turner grounded into a double play. The tying run scored, but a potential big inning was wiped out when Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s hard line drive went straight to Boston centre fielder Jarren Duran. The freshly shorn Jays slugger simply spread his arms and gazed up into the heavens in frustration.

The Red Sox regained the lead in the top half of the fifth inning when Gausman gave up his second solo home run of the night — this one to Duran — before being replaced by lefty Tim Mayza in the sixth as the visitors tacked on two more.

Advertisement 4

Article content

With the way the Jays are hitting, it as more than enough.

Loading...

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

LINE ’EM UP

Ernie Clement entered the day having recorded 10 hits, including four doubles, in his past six games. But in today’s baseball universe, where metrics and analytics supersede the eye test or raw instinct, Clement was not in the lineup. And neither was Davis Schneider. Both bat right handed on a night when Boston threw a right-hander at the Jays.

Spencer Horwitz was at leadoff and recorded a hit in his first at-bat. Turner, who has found his hitting grove, was in the No. 2 hole. Both batters had two hits on the night, as did Addison Barger, who batted in the No. 7 hole and  stroked a double in his first at-bat, his sixth hit in the majors and first for extra bases.

Advertisement 5

Article content

The veteran under the microscope continues to be George Springer, who was not in the starting lineup Tuesday, but he was back Wednesday night batting sixth. Springer was called out on strikes in his first at-bat and again in his second on a pitch that was clearly outside the zone.

He objected to the call, triggering a heated exchange with umpire Alfonso Marquez that prompted manager John Schneider to leave the dugout.

In between innings, Marquez acknowledged to Springer the mistake at the plate. And all was good, as they say.

Springer would line a double into left field on a sharply hit ball in the fifth inning, but would be left stranded, then struck out for the third time on the night when he swung through a pitch in the seventh inning.

Advertisement 6

Article content

SKINNY ON ORELVIS

Highly touted prospect Orelvis Martinez arrived at the ballpark roughly one hour prior to opening pitch Tuesday, the same day the Blue Jays opened a roster spot by placing Bo Bichette (calf) on the 10-day injured list.

In the Boston series finale, a more routine day would play out for Martinez, who was able to workout at Rogers Centre for the first time under the guidance of infield/3B coach Carlos Febles. He even took his swings during pre-game batting practice and did not disappoint by launching balls deep into left field.

The 22-year-old hit 16 homers this season in the minors.

With the Jays, who have an off day Thursday, in Cleveland for a weekend series, Martinez is likely to play in a couple of games against the Guardians, who lost two of three in Toronto this past weekend.

QUICK PITCHES

Daniel Vogelbach, not surprisingly, cleared waivers and was subsequently released by the Blue Jays, who DFA’d the DH on June 14. In 70 at-bats with the Jays, Vogelbach recorded 13 hits, including one home run, struck out 17 times, while drawing nine walks … Jordan Romano (elbow inflammation) continued his throwing progression Wednesday; the hope is to get Romano on a mound this weekend; he won’t be accompanying the team to Cleveland … No official word, but it’s looking as though Yariel Rodriguez will get the start Friday at Progressive Field.

[email protected]

Article content